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Thursday, 24 February 2011

journey of faith: the truth inside the cliché

Faith is a journey.

It's rather an over-used phrase - becoming a cliché, perhaps.  The thing about clichés is that they get overused for a reason; often because they carry some truth or at least inevitability.  But once they become overused, the words empty out, spilling their meaning and becoming mere automatons: oh, look - that sentence again.  Those words, again.  That phrase.  It becomes about the phrase - becoming more like punctuation than words.  Or a title for a stage or compartment of life: my journey of faith.  A label, a tab, a header.

That's the trouble with clichés.  They lose their impact.

But there is a journey within faith - at least there should be.  Faith does not stand still.  I wouldn't want it to, ever.  There is no point where genuine faith says 'Right.  I've got it.  Done and dusted.  Here's what I think about this and this and this.  So there.'  That's just assumption, stubbornness even.  True faith, in my opinion, needs humility and longing.

It needs humility because we are all learning and growing.  We have all got rightness and wrongness inside our heads - whether we admit it or not.  We are all muddied in our understanding of certain things - whether through lack of knowledge or understanding, whether because we are influenced by our own feelings: we want it to be so, thus it is.  Faith needs humility because it understands that it does not have all the answers spelled out.  It is still working through them, re-examining them.  Faith needs humility to understand that life is not all about the way I think it should be, even if that makes me uncomfortable.

Faith needs longing because it wants to understand.  It wants a true view of its goal - its object.  For many of us, this is God.  And our faith is based on him and his trustworthiness.  We long to know him better, and dare I say - we long to know him in spite of what this may do to all our assumptions and feelings and previous understandings.  Faith moves - journeys - through longing to know and understand.  It recognises there are some things beyond comprehension but this does not stop it wanting to comprehend - looking forward to a time when the murkiness will recede.

Faith thrills at new thoughts and previously undiscovered meaning.  Faith enjoys splashing in the shallows but desires to go deeper.

Faith never stands still.

Faith is a journey.


Lisa said...

So very true. Blessings on your journey.

Stuart said...

Good post well said and timely reminder.

Some years back I went through a phase where I thought I had everything pretty much sown up. I knew the answers and I had the truth.

Oh and what a depressing boring unfulfilling faith I had.

Thankfully, I went through a painful crises of faith, in which I realised I knew practically nothing and had to admit that I was pretty much wrong on all counts.

Marvelous. Now all of the mystery and wonder has returned.

In truth there is no such concept as 'faith standing still', in reality, we are either pressing forward or regressing.

Lucy said...

Thanks Stuart - very helpful thoughts.

Stacy Trasancos said...

Lucy, I love your writing after just reading only this. Well, I cracked up at "roguish rabbit" too. Haha! Thanks to Stuart for posting your post today! It's nice to virtually meet you. Blessings. :-)

Nancy Wallace said...

I love your statements about faith needing humility and longing. I agree that faith is a journey, but not sure that "faith never stands still". Stuart (in comment above) says faith is either "pressing forward or regressing". Is that true? Doesn't faith need pause points on the journey? Sitting on a rock while dangling feet in the shallow water - resting before taking the next step?

Lucy said...

Stacy - great to meet you, too!

Nancy - You're quite right - faith needs moments of pause, too. I suppose by saying 'faith never stands still' I meant a complete lack of movement, whereas a journey naturally has places to stop and reflect, to rest. Rest is so important in all areas of life!

Thanks so much for your comments.

Stuart said...

Ugh would help if I could spell crisis.

By the way I nicked some of your text for my blog, I should have asked permission, sorry about that, I was in a flow.

Feel free to delete this comment.

Lucy said...

Hi Stuart - no problem!

"The desperate need today is not for a greater number of intelligent people, or gifted people, but for deep people."- Richard Foster